I was recently afforded the opportunity of participating in a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course sponsored by Region 8. As a lowly civilian, I’ve made it through a quarter-century without learning any significant first aid, aside from a one-credit CPR course in college. By the end of the weekend, I was not only in awe of my peers’ knowledge and experience, but I felt I was walking away with enough practical training and knowledge to maybe, just maybe, save a life.
As the only participant with zero medical training of any kind, I was considered the lowest common denominator for the course. The instructor, Brad, made sure to spell out each acronym and explain all the medical jargon so I could really comprehend the concepts. Fortunately, with WFA, you’re learning practical medicine: the whats, wheres, whens, whys, and hows of outdoor basic first aid. The course teaches what signs to look for, what questions to ask, and gives students the confidence to make a quick decision regarding someone’s health and welfare.
The only part of the course I found more informational than the instructor himself was the numerous experiences and opinions of my fellow TR members. Many could relate any scenario to their military or first response careers. They showed me the types of ailments I’d see on an operation, responses I may receive from a TR volunteer, and possible resources we’d have available at a FOB or surrounding area.
In my opinion, the WFA course is a must for current and future volunteers in Team Rubicon. The information I am walking away with is invaluable, and the appreciation and respect I gained for my regional counterparts during this course runs even deeper.